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In those four years, Hill was by Mrs. Kennedy's side for some of the happiest moments as well as the darkest. He was there for the birth of John, Jr. on November 25, 1960, as well as for the birth and sudden death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy on August 8, 1963. Three and a half months later, the unthinkable happened.
Forty-seven years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the one vivid image that never leaves Clint Hill's mind is that of President Kennedy's head lying on Mrs. Kennedy's lap in the back seat of the limousine, his eyes fixed, blood splattered all over the back of the car, Mrs. Kennedy, and Hill as well. Sprawled on the trunk of the car as it sped away from Dealey Plaza, Hill clung to the sides of the car, his feet wedged in so his body was as high as possible.
Clint Hill jumped on the car too late to save the president, but all he knew after that first shot was that if more shots were coming, the bullets had to hit him instead of the First Lady.
Mrs. Kennedy's strength, class, and dignity over those tragic four days in November 1963 held the country together.
This is the story, told for the first time, of the man who perhaps held her together.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-02-27
- Reviewer: Staff
In November 1960, Hill, who had been on President Eisenhower’s Secret Service detail, wasn’t looking forward to his new assignment—which he viewed as a demotion—of protecting Jacqueline Kennedy. But a disappointed Hill soon realized he was actually serving the president “by protecting the things that were most important to him, personally—his wife and his children.” Hill was completely won over by the first lady’s spontaneity, curiosity, sincerity, and joie de vivre. He accompanied her to Greece twice; on the first trip, in 1961, he was under strict if baffling instructions from JFK to keep his wife away from Aristotle Onassis. Hill was with Mrs. Kennedy on a Virginia hunt where she flew headfirst over her horse and a rail fence, through the death of infant Patrick and in Dallas when the president was assassinated. Hill is close-mouthed about JFK’s infidelities. His book is most valuable for his perceptive recall of the daily routine and problems faced by the Secret Ser-vice detail. This is a worshipful, competent insider’s glimpse of a matchless first lady whose diplomatic skills and glamour enabled her to do the unthinkable: briefly wrest the Mona Lisa from France. Photos. (Apr.)